Q: I always read and enjoy your column.
I live in Sun City MacDonald Ranch in Henderson, a development of more than 2,000 homes, a mix of single-family and duplexes. We live in a duplex that we purchased in 2011. At that time all the duplexes covered under the condo homeowners association paid the same quarterly fees. In 2012, the board decided to do a massive tree cutting for the duplexes, as they had been originally overplanted. There are five duplex neighborhoods. I live in area No. 5, which was determined to need the most work. The quarterly fees were adjusted according to how much work was needed for each area. I should have asked the management about it at the time but didn’t, and it still bothers me. I was on the board of another condo association in another state for 10 years before moving here and have never heard of assigning different fees to different areas or buildings.
Is this legal? All checks are made out to the same management company. Isn’t the purpose of a condo association to share costs equally? Maybe Nevada law allows this? Doesn’t seem fair that my area bears the brunt of the burden through no fault of ours. And it continues to this day.
The fees for 2016 are slightly different but still different for all neighborhoods. My assessment bill is now $345 per month.
A: This is a qualified response, as you have not provided to me your governing documents for the association. Yes, there could be different assessments based upon Nevada Revised Statute 116.3115 subsection 4b. This provision states that “any common expense benefiting fewer than all of the units or their owners may be assessed exclusively against the units or units’ owners benefited. ” Based solely on this provision of the law, if most, or a substantial amount of tree cutting was in your area, the association could have increased your assessments.
Q: I live in the Paradise Springs community and have been here for four years. Last year, the HOA asked for an extra assessment of $1,000 paid quarterly to fix one of the lakes. That was from 30 to 35 homeowners. I agreed to pay, although we already pay $395 a month, which is high.
There is no reason given this year, and they want another $1,000. Supposedly, there were only four homeowners who objected to this slush fund.
Do I have any recourse to not pay this due to hardship? There were landscape issues that I requested be done, and it took months, and some are still not done!
I do not really want to move, but it is too expensive, and they do not know if this extra assessment will continue every year. My husband is on disability. I work, and our daughter will be in college soon.
A: Prior to assessing the homeowners an additional $1,000 for 2017, the association should have notified all of the homeowners of a budget ratification meeting. Based upon your comment, it would appear that you missed this meeting. You should contact either the management company or the community manager to obtain more information as to why the additional $1,000 is needed.
Smaller associations cannot take advantage of the “economies of scale” when it comes to its finances, hence the higher monthly assessments as there are fewer homeowners who can support the operations of the community. Lakes are not an inexpensive amenity for any association, let alone one of this size in membership.
You can discuss your financial condition with either the board of directors or with the community manager. The best the association could do would be to allow you a monthly payment schedule. If you do not make any payments to the association, the association would eventually have to foreclose on the home.
As to the delays pertaining to the landscape issues, you should address this issue with management or with the board. I suggest you make an appointment with the community manager or attend the next board meeting and address some of your concerns directly with the board during the second homeowner forum.
Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.